So I was interviewed today, and my interviewer, correctly pointed something out about me. I tend to look at the things that terrify me, and think about how to do them, and I must confess, drawing terrifies me.
Not Good Enough
I have lousy hand co ordination. My chicken scratch of writing made me not too confident when it came to drawing and it showed. My lines are squiggly, (maybe even jiggly) and nothing I did was good.
I let it stay that way for decades. Decades is a long time. You get used to how you perceive yourself in that time very easily. I always joked that my stick figures would revolt if I drew them. (and they did. One day soon though…but I digress.) \
COVID is an interesting blessing for all of us. It is the opportunity to change things and directions in a heartbeat. I decided that I would teach myself to draw.
Only I didn’t. I wasn’t good enough. Moreover, just the thought of picking my pen up created a lead lump in my stomach. I didn’t want to move. I was that terrified, which is very unusual for me.
About five years ago, the last time I took a class was in Lethbridge, Alberta. Scott McCloud is one of the best minds in comics. He understands the medium in ways few people do and I strongly suggest anybody serious about the craft of comics read this book. It’s required. Seriously. Read now.
I was the only writer in the group. I met an amazing lifelong friend in that class, but I remember just how out of depth I was compared to anyone else. Yeah, I’m a writer in a sea of artists but man, that stuff was amazing. What can I do?
To his credit, not only is Scott a great teacher but he encouraged to take what I learned and do something with it. It was the first time Mr. Zippy came to my head.
It’s Now It’s Never
“…that word good was up for grabs. Always had been, always would be. Even if the man using it was maybe a thousand years old and could shoot like Buffalo Bill, that word was still up for grabs.” Stephen King, Wizard and Glass.
Why was I so terrified? Because I care. I love comics. I have ever since I picked up my very first issue of Green Lantern. I’ve always wanted to do them. The hardest thing about creating comics is the cost of entry. World class illustrators deserve their money. I’ve worked with several. They are incredible people and have spent years working on their craft. I cannot match that talent overnight.
This seemed so daunting.
Then I remembered Blaine the Mono and Eddie. That quote above hit me about a week ago. Good enough is foolish. What is good? How do you define good? I mean we know what gifted, and talented is. We know when we see something magical. But there is magic in many things. My book may never be pretty, but it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes the real magic is in the doing, and will it be good? Maybe. Maybe not.
But it will be the best I can do. And isn’t that in itself magic?
Happiness isn’t about comparing yourself to others. It’s about being happy with what you do. Now, I won’t promise to do more than one issue (I am cheating a little too. See below.) But I promise to try, and for two issues I will do my best. After that? We’ll see.
Zippy The Dragon
Zippy the Dragon an art critic baby dragon making fun of its creator for drawing stuff. He both encourages me and is critical of me, in the best ways. I don’t pretend to understand how comics work, or that my drawings will be good. They will start one dimensional, and grow from there. But this comic is about facing my fears. One panel or page a day will appear on my Instagram page. Will I print it? Probably. I’m not one hundred percent sure, but probably.
All I really promise is that I’ll try. The first issue will not have a lot of drawings, as I realize that the first issue is about my deepest fears. And I have to start a comfortable place, to get to an uncomfortable one. The first line is two words. I feel all of us will understand it when it comes out.
I hope to learn so much, and I hope you’ll read along with me as I discover what’s underneath my fears.
No matter what, I’m certain it will lead somewhere.
No Dragon Pictures…Yet
This is mostly on purpose. There is fear, but it’s also because it’s not final. The first little bit of this comic is about me finding my voice in pictures. I don’t know for sure what it will look like when it’s over. And no doubt, it’ll keep evolving. But the beauty of this is that I am allowed to explore. The thought excites me.
And is absolutely terrifying.
Down the road, I’ll write about what I learned from this. In the meantime, I ask you…what are you afraid of? Maybe the best way to deal with your fears is to tackle them head on. There are always things to be afraid of. Maybe life is simply about confronting the limitations we believe we have, and seeing what happens when we stretch ourselves beyond our confinements.